A TEENAGER bravely faced her public speaking fears to help local families in need of specialist counselling.

Melanie Munro, a pupil at Inverclyde Academy, has won £3,000 for local charity Mind Mosaic after winning a competition at her school.

Third year pupils at the Greenock secondary took part in the Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI), an active citizenship programme that aims to raise awareness amongst young people about good causes and their local community,

They were given the opportunity to research a local charity before delivering a presentation demonstrating what they had learned about it.

Melanie, 15, focused on Mind Mosaic as she had already seen their work up close - and her convincing presentation saw her pick up the prize.

She was delighted to hand over the cheque to its child and family therapy service.

Melanie said: “The charity is one that is really close to my heart.

"I know about how much work they do locally.

“I have had experience with the charity and volunteered and visited the offices so I was keen to do what I could to help.

“I did my research and had to put together a presentation on the charity and present it to the class, which was really nerve wracking and daunting.”

Teacher Scott McHendry, who led the programme, said Melanie had some tough competition but felt that her pitch shone through.

He said: “All the presentations were so detailed and strong and many included really personal stories which made the judging process really difficult.

“Melanie’s presentation was done by herself from the beginning and was by far the most detailed.

"It didn’t only inform us about the charity but also how they help locally and what support is available.

“She was so confident and handled the question and answer session with ease.

"We were very impressed and very proud.”

Melanie says she felt overwhelmed to be announced as the winner.

She said: “I had to overcome my anxiety to speak in front of the class and I surprised myself when I didn’t panic.

“It helped that I knew all about the charity and what I wanted to say, it was a big step for me and I am proud of myself.

“I was delighted to find out I was the winner and know the money will be put to good use.”

Sandra Boyle, founding director of Mind Mosaic Child and Family Therapies and Stephen Crawford, child and family worker, visited the school to collect the cheque and congratulate Melanie on her efforts.

Sandra said: “We were overwhelmed and over the moon to hear that the charity was to receive the money.

“Melanie worked so hard and did it all herself.

"Now children, young people and their parents will benefit from her efforts.

“It is great to think a young person worked so hard to help others.

“Melanie is an inspiration for young people suffering with mental health issues - not only did she highlight mental health she highlighted the help and support available.

“We are all very proud of her and thank her for her efforts.”